Take a Taste of the “Green Fairy”

No other spirit besides absinthe, a.k.a. the "Green Fairy," has such a storied and mysterious history. Long rumored to be the drink of choice of such renowned artists, writers and bohemian heroes as Vincent Van Gogh, Arthur Rimbaud, Oliver Wilde and Aleister Crowley, absinthe got a bad reputation, mostly guilt by association. Erroneously portrayed as a dangerous psychoactive drug (thanks to its minuscule quantities of the chemical thujone), absinthe was banned throughout Europe and the US by the early 1900s.

Now that absinthe's honor has been restored (it has no more or less psychoactive properties than other liquors), it is being distilled and served again in America. However, the mystique remains, thanks in part to absinthe's cool green color and various accouterments used to consume it. Learn the ins and outs of this heady drink during a series of "Green Hour" events held at Morton's The Steakhouse restaurants. The first Chicago-area absinthe soiree will be held at the Northbrook location (699 Skokie Blvd., 847-205-5111) on Thursday, Jan. 29 from 6-7:30PM. (Several other local Morton's will hold "Green Hour" parties in the coming months -- check the Web site for dates.)

Pernod Absinthe cocktails will be the real draw of the "Green Hour" get-togethers, including the "Monkey Gland," with Bombay gin, orange juice and grenadine; the "Sazerac," with whiskey, bitters and a sugar cube; "Le Deuce," served with Absolut, Freixenet sparkling wine and raspberry puree; and the classic absinthe cocktail -- absinthe served with ice water dripped on a sugar cube through a slotted spoon.

Morton's signature hors d'oeuvres, such as oysters Rockefeller (made with the "Green Fairy"), mini prime cheeseburgers, crab-stuffed mushroom caps and sliced tenderloin on crostini will accompany the spirits throughout the evening.

The "Green Hour" event is $45 per person; call the restaurant to make your reservation.

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